Please help me choose!

Looking to buy a new compact car. Should I go for a civic, corolla, or elantra?

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I would not even begin to tell you which one to buy . Only you or whoever might be in your household can make that decision . Of course this is a lousy time to be buying any kind of vehicle .

Edit : Have you even looked on line for any of these vehicles ? I live near a large metropolitan area and there are zero Civics , 2 Corolla’s and zero Elantra . The Corolla’s are being sold with a large ADP ( that is what the dealer has added to the sticker price ).

I live in suburban St. Louis and found 35 Elantras, 6 Fortes (comparable to the Elantra and made by the same company), 10 Civics, and 29 Corollas within 10 miles of my Zip. You should be able to find something in your area. They’re all decent to excellent vehicles and Hyundai/Kia have that marvelous warranty. If there’s a car rental company near you, it might pay to rent something for a weekend so you can see how it feels to live with it.

That’s a good suggestion overall, but the models used by rental companies are usually lower “trim lines”. Two major differences between the low-end trim lines and more premium versions of those models have to do with the audio system and the comfort quality of the seats. If the OP is looking for better-than-average audio and more comfortable seats, rental cars are not likely to feature them.

In essence, when car shopping, it is important to see and drive the exact same “trim line” that you want to consider buying.

Which means that if you can live with the rental version you’ll like whatever you actually buy. Personally, I regard cars as more-or-less transportation appliances and a fairly basic model is just fine.

Yes… IF…
Several years ago, we had a long rant from a woman who hated her new Toyota Yaris. She test-drove and sat in the 4-door Yaris, and naively assumed that the 2 door model that she wanted was essentially identical. Only after buying the cheaper, more basic, 2-door model did she discover that the upholstery fabric and the seats themselves were different and the ride quality was different, and she intensely disliked these aspects of her new car.

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I guess those are all used vehicles , The original post said 'New ’ that to me does not mean used.

Was that when the 4 door and 2 door were completely different cars, one made by Mazda and the other by Toyota? I can see where that would make a difference. As always, a little basic research helps.

Nope. I specified “New” in the search criteria and all the descriptions said “New.” Granted, some were leftover 2021 models being sold as “new” but none were remotely used vehicles.

I got burned by Autotrader, it listed 32 of the model I wanted at a particular dealer, they actually had 0 on the lot. All 32 were either in transit or pre-sold. The OP might need to visit each dealer to find out what they have. Lots of fun.

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Worth noting but the results were spread across multiple dealers. There ought to be at least a couple of each available.

They were definitely different, but I’m not sure whether the 2-door was actually made by Mazda. I think that this predated that tactic, but it definitely came into play at a later date.

Clearly, she didn’t do sufficient due diligence, and because she also considered every other car on the market to be inferior to her old “perfect in every way” Geo Metro :face_with_raised_eyebrow:, I think that her overall judgment was… questionable.

Choose you own damn car, you’re the one who has to live with the choice.

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PvtPublic is being logical again :astonished: Is that allowed here ?

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No harm in someone asking. In this case, all three choices would be fine, it’ll come down to what they like and what they can find on the lot.

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I’d add the Mazda 3 to your list as well, really depends on what you want in a car, any of those would be good but the challenge is finding one on the lot or without paying a large markup.


The only “compact” car I would buy is a Miata.

Test drive them and decide which one you like best. The test drive should be at least 20 minutes to make sure the seats are comfortable. This helped me eliminate an otherwise excellent car the last time I bought a new one. Dealers should have an inventory on their web site. You probably have to call or go to the dealership to get prices. If you don’t want sales contacts do this off hours. Maybe your local dealerships don’t work on Sundays.

Hi Jason:
As jtsanders noted, it’s probably in your best interest to test drive them. They’re all decent vehicles, but you definitely need to take each of them out for a long road test.

Once you decide on which one you like, the harder part will be finding one with the least added markup.

All the best.

IMHO, 20 minutes is the bare minimum, and I strongly suggest an extended test drive of 30-60 minutes for anyone prone to back problems. After I bought my Accord, I learned that Sciatica would set-in in my lower back and my right leg if I drove that car for more than 30 minutes. If I had driven longer before buying, I would have decided to not buy that Accord.

Seat comfort is such an individualized thing that nobody can tell someone else what will be comfortable, and each person needs to assess a vehicle’s comfort for himself–preferably with an extended test drive.

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